The Willamette Valley in northern Oregon features a Mediterranean/oceanic type of climate that is mild all year, where the winters are cool and wet and the summers are warm and dry. Over ten thousand years ago, floodwaters from what is known as Lake Missoula in Montana brought in elements rich in organic and glacial material into the valley. Once these waters subsided, the elements it left created thick layers of topsoil that are up to half a mile deep. The combination of climate and soil laid the foundation for one of the best fruit growing locations on Earth.
In the mid-to-late 1800s, a few Oregon Trail pioneers such as the Fedrick Reuterand, Peter Britt, and John Broetje discovered the richness of this soil and planted grapevines which produced gold metal award winning wines.
Following the era of prohibition, many aspiring wine growers discovered this region and created sub-regions within it; eventually these sub-regions became legally recognized as American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs. One of those AVAs is Yamhill-Carlton.
The Yamhil-Carlton AVA is surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped set of mountain ridges of the Oregon Coast Range. The shape and layout of this range creates a rain shadow over the entire region. In addition, the marine sediments and sandstone base rock, called Willakenzie soils, provide optimal growing conditions for wine grapes such as Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.
Laurelwood Winery produces wine from grapes grown in the Yamhil-Carlton's Hirschy Vineyard. Comprised of Willakenzie soils, the vineyard’s elevation rises to 400 feet above sea level, making it an excellent location for growing Pinot Noir. The quality of the fruit can be reflected by neighboring winemakers who share these rich soils, which creates a dynamic atmosphere that fosters new growth every season.